The fantasy basketball season is just around the corner and you might want to do some prep work before the big draft. For the next few weeks at BFantasyHoops, you’re going to see every team’s fantasy preview right here… and with every preview, there is going to be a TL;DR section if you scroll down. So far, I’ve covered the Atlantic and Central divisions and the previous post was on the Charlotte Hornets. This time we’re going to South Beach!

Notable Arrivals: Dion Waiters (Oklahoma City), Derrick Williams (New York), Willie Reed (Brooklyn), James Johnson (Toronto) and Wayne Ellington (Brooklyn)

Notable Departures: Dwyane Wade (Chicago), Luol Deng (Los Angeles), Joe Johnson (Utah), Amar’e Stoudemire (Israel), and Gerald Green (Boston)

Miami Heat entered into last season as one of the intriguing teams to watch. Unfortunately, with the whole Chris Bosh’s blood clot situation, he was ruled out for the rest of the season and nobody knew if he was gonna come back and play another game in the NBA. Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported that there is a “growing optimism” that Bosh will play this coming season, which is good news for the Heat and fans of the NBA.

Apart from Bosh’s situation, Heat also lost their franchise player since 2003, Dwyane Wade. After playing in Miami for 13 years, Wade left for the Windy City, which left a huge gaping hole in the roster. Not only that, but their free agent signings in Luol Deng and Joe Johnson also decided to leave South Beach, when they were an integral part of the small ball lineup that the Heat had last year. After losing 3, potentially 4 starters, Heat did not replenish their roster with the same amount of talent, which would mean they’re going to turn to their young players for production. Let’s head to the beach and see which players you should target and stay away from. Let’s go!

Hassan Whiteside – We all expected Hassan Whiteside to have an immense season, and he proved us all right. With his ability to finish around the rim, grab boards and block shots (led the league in this category), he deservedly earned himself a massive contract. Whiteside finished the year with 14.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks in only 29.1 minutes per game. He also shot .605 from the field and improved his free throw accuracy to .650. What was interesting to see and caught everyone with their pants on the ground was that Whiteside started hitting his free throws after the All-Star break. In 28 games post All-Star, he had 5.9 free throw attempts per game and he shot it at a .750 rate. It elevated his game, and skyrocketed his fantasy stock to first round value. He finished the year as the seventh best player in fantasy basketball according to Basketball Monster. Heading into this year, you can probably expect his blocks to regress a little bit as he was swatting shots at an absurd rate. However, his minutes will increase as long as he stays out of foul troubles, and you can also expect a hike up in usage rate, which potentially could lead to an increase in points. Personally, it should be reasonable to see him average 17 points, 13 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game and that is worthy of a first round pick. His Yahoo! rank is 14 right now, but you can make an easy argument to bump him up to a top-10 pick.

Goran Dragic – Personally, Goran Dragic is the biggest winner of Dwyane Wade’s departure. He had himself a rather disappointing season and never looked like his old “Dragon” self. Last year he averaged 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists with 0.9 threes and 1.0 steals in 32.8 minutes on the floor. It wasn’t his best stat line, and it shows as he finished the year with only ninth-round value, far below his ADP. With Wade leaving town, Dragic is going to be the primary ball-handler for this Heat team, instead of standing in the corner and waiting for the ball. Coach Spoelstra came out and said Dragic is going to lead the Heat to a faster up-tempo pace offense in the coming season, which would lead to more possessions for potential fantasy goodies. I think we might see shades of ‘13 Dragic when he was on the Suns (top 25 value), and have himself a bounce-back season. He’s listed at rank 70 according to Yahoo! And his ADP is about the same. People are sleeping on him, and at the end of the season we might see him exceed his ADP. He’s a good mid-round point guard to have this year and you might want to sneak him in a round earlier for that upside.

Chris Bosh – Even though the Heat are reportedly optimistic about Chris Bosh playing this season, you’ll never know if this blood clot thing would resurface again. I’m not a medical expert but to my knowledge, blood clots aren’t exactly permanently treatable, and thus, you’ll have to keep taking blood thinners to prevent it from clotting. Moreover, it’s the second time that Bosh was sidelined because of this. Personally, I’m going to stay away from Bosh this year, because I’m a pretty risk averse owner when it comes to injuries after dealing with Bradley Beal’s situation. I do think that Bosh is this year’s wildcard and IF he’s healthy for the whole season, the team that drafted CB would probably have a higher chance of winning. Before being sidelined, Bosh averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, with 1.5 triples, 0.7 steals and 0.6 blocks in the 53 games that he played. His production is worth third-round value according to Basketball Monster. It’s a risky gamble because you don’t know if he’s going to play this year, and if he is playing, you don’t know how often and how long he’s going to play. His ADP and Yahoo! Ranks are at 77 and 76, but having a sixth-round pick that could potentially miss out is a bit risky. Let’s just say the later you pick Bosh, the more it will pay out, assuming he returns this season and good luck to the Bosh owners this year.

Josh Richardson – There are big shoes to fill for the starting 2-spot in Miami. It’s going to be a battle between Josh Richardson and Dion Waiters with Tyler Johnson hovering around. However, Richardson recently suffered from a partially torn MCL that would cost him 6-8 weeks. That could mean Waiters would be in the starting lineup come opening day, with Tyler Johnson filling in some minutes. However, we all know Waiters isn’t really worth a fantasy pick unless you’re in deep leagues. Tyler Johnson might be a streamer come opening week, but not really worthy of a pick as well. When Richardson comes back, he’s a good source of triples and steals in the late-rounds. Moreover, his upside is better compared to Waiters and Johnson. After the All-Star break, Richardson played himself in to the rotation for some meaningful minutes. He averaged 10.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 triples and 1.0 steals in the 29 games he played post All-Star. They’re not spectacular but you can expect improvements in his game heading into his second year in the league. Entering into this year’s draft, Yahoo! has him at 308, and his ADP is at 137. The ADP might fall a bit due to the injury but that only means that people are sleeping on him more. I’d put my money on Richardson between him, Waiters, and Tyler Johnson.

Justise Winslow – Say what you want to say about Winslow, he’s a good player but fantasy wise, he’s just not that appealing. He’s a good rebounder and defender in his position, but it doesn’t really translate into stats and that’s all we care about. He’s locked in for the starting 3-spot since Luol Deng left for Hollywood, which means he’s going to get heavy minutes game-in-game-out. In the 28 games Winslow played after the All-Star break, he averaged 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists with 0.3 triples, and 1.1 steals in 30 minutes per game. With the departure of Wade, I still don’t see his usage rate increasing this year, as he’s still not polished as an offensive player. He might not have his breakout year just yet, but maybe in a year or two, he will. Winslow finished the year way off the fantasy radar and right now Yahoo! has him at 200 with his ADP at 142. I’d leave him out of the way for others to pick when there are better players with higher upside and fantasy production in threes, steals or blocks.

TL;DR

  • Early-Rounds: Hassan Whiteside
  • Mid-Rounds: Goran Dragic
  • Late-Round: Chris Bosh, Josh Richardson
  • Deep Leagues: Justise Winslow, Dion Waiters, Tyler Johnson
  • Sleepers: Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson
  • Busts: Chris Bosh, Justise Winslow

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